What started with three mothers who reached out to one another for support while going through lengthy NICU experiences has grown into a thriving grassroots community of more than 900 members. As the group continues to grow and serve the needs of Blank’s NICU community, they have formed the non-profit organization Average Everyday Miracles.
To create a place for current NICU families & NICU graduates of Blank Children’s Hospital to share experiences, learn from each other, & support one another and the staff who supported us through our NICU journeys.
To connect & support the NICU community of Blank Children’s Hospital: babies, parents, families & staff.
After our first ever tie vote we cast our votes again for the top 2 and the winner is... Amanda the Panda!!!
(Please make checks payable to “EveryStep Foundation-ATP” and memo line “100 Women”.)
The idea for Amanda the Panda was born in 1980. The primary focus for Amanda the Panda during the first seven years was to be a special friend to children living with cancer. Amanda the Panda’s work with grieving children evolved naturally from this work with children living with cancer. In the fall of 1982, a grief camp was created. This was a weekend camp exclusively for children that had experienced the death of a loved one. Our grief camp is the first and longest running camp in the United States for grieving children and teens. That first camp has now grown into two weekend camps each year for children and teens aged 5–17, as well as adults. The first adult camp was held in 1989. To date, about 35,000 children, teens and adults from across the state have participated in Amanda the Panda’s programs.
In 2013, Gregory and Suzie Glazer Burt gifted Amanda the Panda with a forever home at 1821 Grand Avenue in West Des Moines, the site of former hospice house. In November 2014, Amanda the Panda became a program within the family of compassionate non-profit services offered by EveryStep. Amanda the Panda’s expertise in supporting children and adults through the grieving process is naturally aligned with the bereavement services offered by EveryStep that address children’s health and mental well-being. This partnership is an exciting one that allows us to continue to serve more children and families across our state.
As we look towards the future we are eager to share our story and mission and continue to provide hope and healing to many more families with your support. With vision and dedication, Amanda the Panda and EveryStep Grief & Support Services will continue to bring compassion, healing and joy to children, individuals and families.
ValorFit's mission is to help veterans and their families by pairing them with other veterans in local gyms and fitness facilities. This approach ensures the veterans are surrounded by positive influences so they can regain confidence, self esteem and self worth. We want to help facilitate long lasting relationships that place veterans in a position to succeed. ValorFit and their partner facilties will address, educate, coordinate, and provide opportunities to Veteran’s and their families through physical training and nutritional guidance to use as a tool for a healthier lifestyle.
ValorFit knows the importance of finding facilities that allow veterans the opportunity to flourish as they take control of their health and fitness. Working together with owners and instructors ensures veterans feel welcomed, included and part of the team as they begin and continue on in their journey to being their best selves.
Veterans and their families need support when they step into a facility for the first time. ValorFit does everything they can to make sure the veteran has the support they need from both the facility and representatives of ValorFit to make sure the veteran integrates into the community and establishes a strong support system from the start.
Success is attributed to the people you have beside you in the journey. ValorFit's goal is to make sure each veteran who enters the program is successful. That takes work and investment from all parties; the veteran, ValorFit and the facility. We want veterans to be successful in their quest for health and we will do everything we can to help them!
Courage League Sports adaptive sports and recreation program offers year-round programming for children and adults who aren’t able to go full speed due to a physical, cognitive, or emotional disability. By adapting the pace, equipment, or nature of an activity, Courage League provides a safe and accessible environment. Courage League offers adaptive, special recreation programs in 8 different communities throughout Greater Des Moines, including in Ankeny. Programs include a wide variety of activities, from music and movement, tumbling, sports, group games, super hero training, and fitness. In addition, full team sports, pop up art programming, school break camps, swimming, and more are offered. Rebecca Torres shared about the impact Courage League Sports has had on her family, explaining that in addition to the fun, skill-building, and social benefits for children, families and parents also gain much. With Courage League programs, staff and volunteers do all of the organizing and playing/interacting with participants, which means that as kids get to be kids and focus on playing, their parents get to be parents rather than caretakers – parents get to watch and cheer on their kiddos, just as other parents do when attending any other ball games/sports events.